Book Review: C-47/R4D Units of World War II


by David C. Isby

Osprey Combat Aircraft Series. Two volumes. Illus, diagr., append., notes, biblio., index. $22.95 each. ISBN:1841767506

In these two detailed, well-illustrated works, veteran military and aviation historian David C. Isby gives up a concise overview of the operations of American C-47 and R4D "Skytrain" aircraft during the Second World War.

·         C47/R4d Units of the ETO and MTO. Osprey: Oxford, 2005. Pp. 96.  Illus, diagr., append., notes, biblio., index. $22.95. ISBN: 978-1-84176-750-5

·         C47/R4d Skytrain Units of the Pacific and CBI.  Osprey: Oxford, 2007.  Pp. 96.  Illus, diagr., append., notes, biblio., index. $22.95. ISBN: 978-1-84603-046-8.

Each volume opens with a short overview of the origins and early history of the DC-3/C-47/R4D (to give it it's commercial, Army, and Navy designations), which is followed by a short discussion of the aircraft's early wartime service in the indicated theaters. 

The ETO/MTO volume then covers organizations and operations in the Mediterranean and Middle East in 1942-1944, D-Day and related operations, the MTO from 1944 through the end of the war, and finally operations in northwestern Europe from D-Day through the end of the war and afterwards.

The Pacific/CBI volume covers, in sequence, organizations and operations in the Southwest Pacific (New Guinea and environs) through 1943, then the CBI from 1942 through 1944, Pacific Ocean areas from 1942 through the end of the war, New Guinea and the Philippines, 1943-1945, the CBI, 1944-1945, and ends with the final operations of the war and during the immediate post-war period.

As is traditional with Osprey aviation books, there is a tremendous amount of detail on the aircraft and its variants, considerable detail on aviation units that used the airplane, a surprising number of anecdotes, excellent graphics, and, in this case, an engaging text.

Useful books for anyone interested in aviation, air operations in the Second World War, or the respective theaters.

Reviewer: A. A. Nofi   

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